Breaking News

When the past is present…

 

Bernice King’s Perception of Dr. King’s Vision of Peace for Our World

By Bernice A. King, HuffingtonPost.com

(. . .) He reminded us that “the choice today is no longer between violence and nonviolence; it is between nonviolence or nonexistence.” Therefore, we are celebrating the 2014 King Holiday Observance with the theme, Remember! Celebrate! Act! King’s Legacy of Peace for Our World. This theme also pays homage to the fact that, this year, we will commemorate the 50th anniversary of both my father receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as the enactment of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.images With the theme of peace in mind, we launched our five-year “Choose Nonviolence” campaign.

As part of the campaign, our goal is to expose, encourage, educate, engage and empower one million current, emerging and next-generation leaders to embrace Dr. King’s leadership philosophy. This will be done through social media, dialogues, summits, marketing campaigns and a global leadership initiative. images-1On the national holiday today, The King Center is calling for a moratorium on violence. Specifically, we are asking that there be no shots fired — no shooting off at the mouth with our tongue, no shooting off physically with our fists and no shooting off of any type of gun! Just for one day — on the King Holiday — in recognition of my father, and as TIME magazine has said, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, let us honor the memory of one of the world’s most highly regarded nonviolent proponents of peace on his holiday, with no shots fired. Instead, we ask that people engage in something positive and uplifting in service to humanity. (. . .)

imgres-1

Bernice King

Choosing nonviolence does not mean that one will never get angry or become upset with others, including the ones we love. One day my dad and brothers were riding their bicycles, and I decided to follow them into the street on my tricycle. My father was very upset, but he remained disciplined and didn’t let his emotions take him too far, which is an important part of embracing nonviolence.

I shared this story about my father to remind us that as human beings we will fall short from time to time. We will get angry, feel hurt, or say something we wish we hadn’t. It’s okay.The important thing to remember is that we must remain disciplined in how far we take that anger or hurt, and that it is presented in an appropriate and nonviolent manner.

Read the full article.

Catch up on more breaking news

 

Amiri Baraka, former N.J. poet laureate and prolific author, dead at 79

By David Giambusso/The Star-Ledger

NEWARK — Amiri Baraka, the longtime activist and former poet laureate of New Jersey died today, officials confirmed. He was 79 years old.

Amiri Baraka (Courtesy of the Star-Ledger)

Amiri Baraka (Courtesy of the Star-Ledger)

Baraka was placed in intensive care at Beth Israel Medical Center last month for an unknown reason, but a spokesman for his son’s mayoral campaign said his condition was improving late in December.

Newark Mayor Luis Quintana said Baraka will be sorely missed.(…) Quintana recalled Baraka’s role in the 1970 Black and Puerto Rican convention, a landmark political meeting that resulted in the election of Ken Gibson, Newark’s first black mayor.()

A Newark native and resident formerly known as Leroi Jones, Amiri Baraka has published dozens of poems, essays and works of non-fiction. In 1963 Amiri Baraka wrote “Blues People,” an in-depth history of music from the time of slavery throughout the various incarnations of blues and jazz, with integrated social commentary. The book’s 50th anniversary was recently celebrated during an event at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

In 1964, Baraka published the book of poetry, “Dead Lecturer” that marked a significant transition in his career. Also written under the name Leroi Jones, the book featured more traditional poems but also laid the groundwork for the more radical, experimental work that would come to define his later career.

“He was able to put music into the work, even reading the work,” said Maria Maziotti Gillan, a poet and the director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College. “Mostly he was able to capture an audience when he spoke. He was a able to capture an audience through his poetry but also through what he had to say.”Baraka was the state’s first poet laureate for a short time in 2002 and 2003.

In 2002, Gov. James E. McGreevey called for Baraka’s resignation as New Jersey’s Poet Laureate after a Jewish group condemned “Somebody Blew Up America.” The poem, written shortly after 9/11, included a passage claiming thousands of Israelis knew there was going to be an attack and stayed home from work — an Internet rumor not based in fact.

In typical fashion, Baraka defended his free speech and wrote an essay entitled, “I will not apologize, I will not resign.”

 

12-year-old Murdered Over Cellphone, Defendant Faces 50 Years

By Kate Abbey-Lambertz, HuffingtonPost.com

url

Joshua Brown

Almost two years ago, Kadejah Davis-Talton, then 12, was shot to death at her home in Detroit over a disagreement about a cellphone. On Tuesday, the man convicted in her killing was told he could face 50 years in prison.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Vonda Evans sentenced Joshua Brown, age 21, to 24 to 50 years for second-degree murder, 14 to 30 years for assault with intent to murder, which he is to serve concurrently, and an additional mandatory two years for a felony firearm charge, according to the Detroit Free Press.

According to prosecutors, the man’s mother, Heather Brown, drove her son to and from Davis-Talton’s home on Jan. 31, 2012 after she had gotten in a dispute over her missing cellphone with Almanda Talton, the girl’s mother.

Kadejah Davis-Talton

Kadejah Davis-Talton

Talton said she found a phone in public restroom at a tax business and gave it to an employee, according CBS Detroit. She thought Joshua Brown came to her home to discuss something else, and then shut the door on him after talking to him briefly. Brown, then 19, fired several shots through the door, according to prosecutors, striking and killing Kadejah Davis-Talton. (. . .)

“Why would two mothers risk their children’s lives over such a minor thing as a cellphone?” Evans asked before sentencing, the Detroit News reports. “A mother’s worst nightmare was experienced the night Kadejah was killed.” (. . .)

Davis-Talton was a sixth-grade student who had straight A’s and had just celebrated her birthday before her death. (. . .)

 

Read the full article.

Catch up on more breaking news.

 

How Many Africans Were Really Taken to the U.S During the Slave Trade?

By Henry Louis Gates Jr., TheRoot.com

Perhaps you, like me, were raised essentially to think of the slave experience primarily in terms of our black ancestors here in the United States. In other words, slavery was primarily about us, right, from Crispus Attucks and Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker and Richard Allen, all the way to Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass. Think of this as an instance of what we might think of as African-American exceptionalism. (In other words, if it’s in “the black Experience,” it’s got to be about black Americans.) Well, think again. images

The most comprehensive analysis of shipping records over the course of the slave trade is the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, edited by professors David Eltis and David Richardson. (. . .)Between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America. imgres

And how many of these 10.7 million Africans were shipped directly to North America? Only about 388,000. That’s right: a tiny percentage.  In fact, the overwhelming percentage of the African slaves were shipped directly to the Caribbean and South America; Brazil received 4.86 million Africans alone! Some scholars estimate that another 60,000 to 70,000 Africans ended up in the United States after touching down in the Caribbean first, so that would bring the total to approximately 450,000 Africans who arrived in the United States over the course of the slave trade.

Incredibly, most of the 42 million members of the African-American community descend from this tiny group of less than half a million Africans. (. . .)

Read the full article.

Read more breaking news.

 

Robin Roberts Broadcasts Her Sexuality

By Cavan Sieckowski, HuffingtonPost.com

robin-roberts-medical-leave-gma

“Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts came out Sunday in a touching post thanking her “long time girlfriend.”

Amber Laign is a licensed massage therapist from the San Francisco Bay Area, according to People magazine. She and Roberts met through mutual friends and have been together for 10 years. “I am grateful for the many prayers and well wishes for my recovery. I return every one of them to you 100 fold,” Roberts continued. “On this last Sunday of 2013 I encourage you to reflect on what you are grateful for too.”(. . .) “At this moment I am at peace and filled with joy and gratitude,” Roberts wrote.

robin-roberts-sister

 

 

“I am grateful to God, my doctors and nurses for my restored good health. I am grateful for my sister, Sally-Ann, for being my donor and giving me the gift of life. I am grateful for my entire family, my long time girlfriend, Amber, and friends as we prepare to celebrate a glorious new year together.”

CNN’s Brian Stelter noted that this is the first time Roberts has spoken publicly about her sexual orientation.

The 53-year-old follows in the footsteps of other famous figures who have chosen to discuss their

Earlier this month, Olympic diver Tom Daley came out in a YouTube video, revealipersonal lives without formally choosing a title or label.

ng he is in a relationship with a man. Last year, Frank Ocean came out in a blog post. He opened up about a same-sex relationship he had when he was 19 years old.

Read the full article.

Catch up on more breaking news.

 

A Hug That Earned a Student Suspension

By Rebecca Klein, HuffingtonPost.com

images-12

Sam McNair

A petition for Sam McNair, a Georgia teen suspended from school earlier this month after hugging a teacher, is gaining steam around the Internet.

According to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the school released a statement clarifying that “hearing officers consider witness testimony, a review of the known facts, and a student’s past disciplinary history when determining consequences” in disciplinary issues. The district cannot comment further on a pending case.

While the outlet notes that McNair does have a history of disciplinary misconduct, he has never been punished before for sexual harassment.

ABC News legal anchor Dan Abrams says that he thinks the school’s decision makes sense. “It’s a tough sentence but they say he’d been in trouble before and that’s why he got the stiff sentence,” said Abrams.

McNair’s mother told HuffPost that she is in the process of appealing the decision. The petition, which had over 4,000 signatures on Wednesday afternoon, calls on Gwinnett County Public Schools to overturn McNair’s punishment. According to the Change.org petition, which was started by a Los Angeles woman, “The punishment does NOT fit the violation.”

The high school senior was suspended until next December after a teacher claimed McNair sexually harassed her, according to CBS Atlanta. Video surveillance footage of the incident shows McNair hugging the teacher from behind before she promptly pushes him away. The teacher claims that McNair’s lips and cheek touched her neck, though McNair vehemently denies this, per CBS Atlanta.

hug16k-1-webMcNair, who is a star athlete, told the outlet that he has hugged his teachers in the past but was never disciplined for it. However, the teacher in question said in a discipline report that she had previously warned McNair about inappropriate hugs. (. . .)

According to ABC’s “Good Morning America,” the school released a statement clarifying that “hearing officers consider witness testimony, a review of the known facts, and a student’s past disciplinary history when determining consequences” in disciplinary issues. The district cannot comment further on a pending case.

While the outlet notes that McNair does have a history of disciplinary misconduct, he has never been punished before for sexual harassment.ABC News legal anchor Dan Abrams says that he thinks the school’s decision makes sense. “It’s a tough sentence but they say he’d been in trouble before and that’s why he got the stiff sentence,” said Abrams.

McNair’s mother told HuffPost that she is in the process of appealing the decision.

Read the full article.

Read more breaking news.

 

 

Santa is White?

By: Russell Contreras, AP.org

A New Mexico high school teacher has been disciplined after a parent says the man told his black son that A different color of ClausSanta Claus is white. Officials at the school in Rio Rancho, about 15 miles north of Albuquerque, announced Friday that the teacher recently was disciplined for his comments to the student, but they declined to say how, KOB-TV reported.

The move came after students at Cleveland High School were told they could come to class dressed as Santa, an elf or a reindeer.Michael Rougier said his ninth-grade son, Christopher, arrived wearing a Santa hat and beard, and the teacher asked the boy: “Don’t you know Santa Clause is white? Why are you wearing that?”

The teacher’s name was not released, and attempts by The Associated Press to reach school officials Saturday were unsuccessful. Michael Rougier said the teacher’s comments enraged him.

“There’s no room for that in the classroom,” he said. “Whether this teacher felt Christopher may have been wearing this out of context, there’s no room for it. There’s just no room for it.” (. . .)images-2

A spokesman for Rio Rancho Public Schools said the Cleveland High School teacher knows he made a “dumb” mistake and has since apologized to the Rougier family.Michael Rougier said he still has concerns.

“If he has that attitude, how is it affecting students, studies, grading habits, trending toward Caucasian kids?” Rougier said of the teacher. (. . .)

Read the full article.

Read more breaking news.

 

Can Racism Lead to Health Complications for Your Child?

By Janell Ross, TheRoot.com

The big revelations coming out of Emory didn’t stop there. Preterm birth is long understood to have a potential impact on a child’s cognition and language-learning skills. But Michael Kramer, an epidemiologist at Emory’s School of Public Health, examined the birth and school records of thousands of Georgians born between 1998 and 2003. When these children took state academic assessment tests in first grade, those born prematurely were more likely to fail. premature-baby

The more premature the birth, the worse the child performed. Only 13 percent of the babies born on time or less than three weeks early fell short on first-grade tests, compared to a third of the children born 13 to 20 weeks prematurely.

“What we found explains some, but by no means all, of the academic achievement gap,” Kramer said. “There are real differences we can make in education by investing in what happens long before children reach school.”

Kramer’s findings also suggest that since poor minority families often concentrate in sections of a city and therefore send their children to the same set of the nation’s increasingly segregated (by both race and class) schools, children struggling to learn due to a preterm birth aren’t evenly disbursed. Some schools are likely serving large numbers while others, in wealthier communities and those serving mostly white students, may be serving few to none. (. . .)

images-10If poverty and racism are driving preterm birth and later health and learning complications, then reducing the first and eliminating the second become a public health imperative.

“I think that our research may be shocking to a lot of people, but I hope not dispiriting,” said Corwin with Emory. “We have some clue what may be causing disproportionate rates of preterm births in some segments of the population, and we know that we can try to intervene early. The question is really whether that is something that we are prepared as a country to do.”

Read the full article.

Read more breaking news.

 

Black Teens Arrested While Waiting For the Bus

By Morgan Whitaker, Msnbc.com

e20507444396_sf_8

Deaquon Carelock, Raliek Redd and Wan’Tauhjs Weathers

Charges were dropped against three African-American teenagers who said they were waiting for a school bus last week when they were arrested by police. “After reviewing the facts associated with these arrests, I have decided to dismiss the charges in the interest of justice,” said District Attorney Sandra Doorley in a statement Tuesday. The basketball players said they were waiting for a bus in Rochester, N.Y., to take them to a scrimmage when police asked them to leave the area. When 17-year-old Deaquon Carelock and 16-year-olds Raliek Redd and Wan’Tauhjs Weathers pushed back against the officer’s request, saying they were following instructions from their coach, police arrested them. The teens were later charged with two counts of disorderly conduct. (. . .)

jg120313kids1

“We tried to tell them that we were waiting for the bus,” Weathers added. “We weren’t catching a city bus, we were catching a yellow bus. He didn’t care. He arrested us anyways.” Police say the teens were obstructing pedestrian traffic and repeatedly ignored orders to disperse, according to a police report obtained by FOX station WROC. Police had been keeping an eye on the area after receiving complaints of loitering from a nearby store. The students’ coach said he had no reason to think they were causing trouble.“My guys were waiting for the bus like they normally do,” Jacob Scott, the student’s basketball coach, said. “I get to the scene after parking my car and three of my guys are handcuffed.”  (. . .)

Jacob Scott

Jacob Scott

“One of the police officers actually told me, if he had a big enough caravan, he would take all of us downtown,” Scott said, referring to himself and the other students waiting to attend the scrimmage on a day off from school.

“These young men were doing nothing wrong, nothing wrong,” he said of the arrested players. “They did exactly what they were supposed to do.” (. . .)

The teens posted bail, and the case is scheduled for disp(osition). “They are not bad kids,” Raliek Redd’s mother, Crystal Chapman, said. “They are awesome boys. They all have good grades in school. I don’t want them to be profiled at all.”

 

Read the full article.

Read more breaking news.

 

In Honor of Nelson Mandela

By Jon Gambrell, Ap.org via Huffingtonpost.com

South Africa expects overwhelming crowds and a host of world leaders to attend services honoring late President Nelson Mandela, though with the ceremonies only days away officials acknowledged Saturday they couldn’t offer any specifics yet. Across the country, South Africans already have begun honoring Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95, and officials expect tens of thousands to participate in next week’s official services. In their first statement since Mandela’s death, his family said they had “lost a great man,” just as they had when South Africa’s apartheid government imprisoned him for decades. Mandela

“The pillar of our family is gone, just as he was away during that 27 painful years of imprisonment, but in our hearts and souls he will always be with us,” said the statement, read by family spokesman Lt. Gen. Themba Templeton Matanzima. (. . .)

Official services honoring Mandela begin Tuesday with a major memorial planned at FNB Stadium on the edge of Johannesburg’s Soweto township. Government Minister Collins Chabane told journalists Saturday he expects massive crowds far beyond what the stadium’s normal 95,000-person capacity could hold. He said there would be “overflow” areas set up.”We can’t tell people not to come,” he said. He couldn’t offer specifics about how crowds would arrive there with all roads to the venue closed by police or who would serve as a master of ceremonies.

Those planning Mandela’s funeral include the former president’s family, the federal government, the military and the African National Congress political party. Despite some prior planning by authorities as Mandela grew frail and suffered bouts of hospitalization in recent years, many of the details remain up in the air. It’s unclear which ceremony world leaders will attend, either Tuesday’s stadium memorial or the planned funeral service Dec. 15 in Qunu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate’s rural hometown in Eastern Cape Province. Chabane said South African officials briefed diplomats Saturday about the arrangements, though they would leave it to foreign governments to say which event their leaders would attend.

images-8U.S. President Barack Obama and his two predecessors, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, already have indicated they will attend services in South Africa honoring Mandela. Many other world leaders also are expected. Mandela’s body won’t be at the stadium event Tuesday, Chabane said. His body will rest in state Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the seat of government power in South Africa’s capital. Mourners will walk up the steps into the Union Buildings’ amphitheater and file past Mandela’s body, Chabane said. Authorities blocked visitors from visiting the amphitheater Saturday. Chabane said he didn’t know yet whether it would be an open- or closed-casket viewing. (. . .)

Sunday has been declared a national day of prayer and reflection over Mandela’s death. On Monday, South Africa’s two houses of parliament will hold special sessions to pay tribute to Mandela, the country’s first black and democratically-elected president. Tributes to the former anti-apartheid activist continued to pour in from around the globe. Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since his country’s independence from Britain in 1980 and supported Mandela’s ANC during its struggle against the apartheid regime, paid his first public tribute to the deceased leader. (. . .)imgres

Hundreds gathered Saturday at Mandela’s house in Houghton. They sang liberation songs and walked past expansive, stately homes carrying bundles of flowers and images of Mandela.

 Read the entire article.

Read more breaking news.